Frozen Pipes: Know the Signs

Signs That Indicate Pipe Freezing 

The extreme weather this winter has been nothing short of startling. Record temperatures, both high and low, have left even Oklahomans’ heads spinning. These harsh conditions are not easy on plumbing. Frozen and burst pipes are sometimes the unfortunate collateral damage of these winter conditions. Homeowners should know the indicators of frozen pipes so they can quickly respond to the problem.

Inconsistent Water Pressure

faucetWhen pipes freeze, there can be a sudden increase in water pressure followed by the flow slowing to a trickle or drip or nothing at all. This is a sure sign that the water has gotten too cold and frozen in the pipes. When the lack of water flow is noticed, problem-solving and mitigation come into play. Below are some suggestions for getting the water flowing again.

  • Leave the sink faucets on. Those that are not frozen should be left dripping to prevent further freezing.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow for warmer air to circulate 
  • Place a space heater near the frozen pipes and direct it toward them. 
  • If a drain pipe seems frozen, pour hot water down the drain to help melt it.

These steps will help prevent the pipes from bursting, but the most effective solution is calling a plumber.

Exposed Pipes Showing Visible Evidence of Frost

The pipes most vulnerable to freezing are those exposed, usually in an unfinished basement or crawl space. If a homeowner can see ice or frost on the outside of the pipes, then it is certain that there is ice within the pipe. The best way to prevent this from happening is to use pipe insulation. There are two main types of pipe insulation: foam and fiberglass. They are both easy to install and work best for different parts of the pipes.

  • Foam Pipe Insulation: This type of insulation looks like a pool noodle split down one side. These come in various sizes according to the size of the pipes that they are meant to insulate. They slide over long, straight pipe sections and are secured with special tape.
  • Fiberglass Pipe Insulation:  Fiberglass pipe insulation is just like the rolls of fiberglass insulation put in the walls and ceilings of homes, except that it is thinner like a roll of tape and is backed by a layer of metallic tape. This insulation is perfect for the bending and twisting sections of pipes like drain pipes under sinks and tubs and areas with spacers that prevent water hammering.

The Bathroom Smells Like Sewage

smellIf the bathroom starts to carry a foul smell that seems sourceless, there may be a frozen sewer pipe or, worse, a burst one. When sewer pipes freeze, they can become blocked. This blockage prevents the usual flow of water and waste material, causing pressure to build up inside the line. As a result, sewage gases such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia can escape through small cracks in the pipes or vents, leading to a home and causing unpleasant odors. 

In addition, frozen pipes are prone to bursting, which can cause further property damage and health risks. It’s important to insulate the pipes or contact a plumber for professional help to prevent sewage gases from entering a home. If homeowners notice any strange odors coming from their sewer lines, it’s vital to investigate the cause immediately because pipes could be frozen or burst.

About Fixt Plumbing

Fixt Plumbing provides Bethany, OK, and the surrounding areas with 24/7 emergency service. They also offer same-day service and flat-rate pricing. Call them today for water leak detection and burst pipe repair in Bethany, OK.